Shinji Kubo, a bashful eighteen-year-old fisherman. He is well built and sunburned, with clear, dark eyes. He is levelheaded for his age but is sometimes conscious of his poverty, especially when confronted with the wealth and social status of Hatsue, the young woman he loves. Before meeting her, he had led a peaceful, contented life. His only driving ambition in life, other than winning Hatsue’s hand, is to acquire his own fishing boat and do coastal fishing with his younger brother. Basically unselfish and thoughtful, he has a “haphazard” respect for morality. When he finally gets a job on a fishing vessel, Shinji, unlike his rival, shows courage during a typhoon at sea and proves to himself that his own strength kept him safe through the perilous night. His efforts are rewarded: Despite an ugly rumor of Shinji having slept with his daughter, Hatsue’s father relents and allows Shinji to court her.
Hatsue Miyata, the daughter of Terukichi Miyata, the wealthiest man on the island. Her three sisters left the family through marriage, but she was adopted out to another family. Later, however, her father decides that she should return and marry Yasuo Kawamoto. On returning, she finds that she prefers Shinji Kubo, even though there is little likelihood that he could provide the kind of life to which she has been accustomed. Hatsue herself, however, works hard. Her healthy, glowing skin and cheeks suggest a wholesome country girl. She is a kindred spirit to Shinji.
Yasuo Kawamoto, the son of a leading family in the village. He is Hatsue’s suitor. Fat and red-complexioned, he seems both naïve and crafty. He knows how to make others follow him, and he takes pride in speaking with no trace of the local dialect. By the age of nineteen, he has become hypocritical. Something of a...
(The entire section is 775 words.)